What an eventful two weeks Zimbabwe has had. So much drama and plot twists in the political arena of Zimbabwe. Game of Thrones has nothing on Zimbabwean politics (but you can’t ignore the striking similarities. Here’s to hoping that the white walkers get quashed….) I digress…
Today I bear witness to something that I thought I would never experience; the departure of Robert Gabriel Mugabe from his post as Zimbabwean president a post he had held since independence in 1980. What I feel right now I dare not attempt to put it to words. This Mugabe exit is a cause for joy for the whole country. What I can say though about the scenes and sounds of celebrations that took place in the Central Business District was that not even on New Year’s Eve would you see such happiness and celebration on people’s faces.
After Sunday’s shocking (not) resignation speech my hopes were dashed. I was furious, I was heartbroken and I couldn’t believe we had been duped again. Alas my hopes have been raised again. HE IS GONE, MUGABE IS GONE (finally).
The dictator has fallen…. That’s great news for Zimbabweans the world over, not just Zimbabweans, even the international community will recognise that a new dawn has come. This is a great opportunity for new socio-economic and political synergies. Surely the international community is already queuing up to re-engage with Zimbabwe (at least I hope they are). These could bring about a resurgence in our local economy and a much awaited revival (or overhaul) of our manufacturing and service industries. Investment prospects are abundant and now we await for investors to come.
Now as any reasonable citizen is thinking, what comes now and from flipping through the news channels there is undeniable hope for the future. What happens when the euphoria and joy of Mugabe’s exit subsides, scepticism emanates. One guaranteed scepticism is on the political front. What happens with our politics? The power vacuum that remains in the wake of Bob’s exit hangs as a dark shadow of potentially turbulent times (I don’t intend to be alarmist but it has to be said).
After a series of conversations with friends and family it is clear that while we celebrate Gushungo’s exit we have not forgotten how he stayed in power in the first place. It was the very same army and police that kept him there especially after the 2008 election. Some of my friends even stated that there was no cause for celebration as the same establishment that had victimised us for over three decades was still in power and all its structures still in place. One pretty lady (not an important detail but her beauty is astounding) told me that she felt no reason to celebrate because Mugabe’s exit was like a neighbour’s birthday party: that it was “okay to feel happy and cheer them on but the joy and achievement is not really yours to enjoy”. I agree with her, the true winners here are not Zimbabwean citizens, it’s the Zanu PF party. Now they can shore up their grip on power in preparation for next year’s elections. They have gotten rid of the figures that were “splitting the party.”
The coup that’s not a coup has brought about a precedence that I honestly do not want to see continue. Once a coup takes place, it is almost certain that more coups will take place in that country. Just look at North and West African states were I’d go so much as to say they have a culture of coups (but not the bloodless one we had, the real coups with death and violence). That scares me more than the thought of the effect of global warming on our climate (topic for another day).
The one fact that we all acknowledge is that Mugabe leaving is a step in the right direction for Zimbabwean politics and government. Here is how I see it. We have effectively removed the oldest government official in our country as well as the world (yes I checked Wikipedia Mugabe was the oldest). Now I hope to see all the other old bags of bones leaving the posts they hold for much younger and forward thinking leaders. Honestly most of these guys don’t even know how to connect to a WiFi network with their expensive smartphones the government buys for them (I have examples but it wouldn’t be prudent to share with you).
Perhaps the most incredible thing to come out from Robert’s ouster is the freedom of speech we witnessed over the last couple of weeks. Social media, radio and television was jam-packed with Zimbabweans finally speaking their minds. Though for the most part they were using riddles and coded languages to express themselves. I hope to see more of this freedom. (Although General Chiwenga has given a statement on the national TV station that citizens shouldn’t abuse social media. To me that’s just a cleverly put message saying “from now on its business as usual, normal service resumes as usual” )
And… where are the Opposition parties?
Other things do not change as well. The fact that our opposition is largely fragmented and does not command an electorate as large as that which the now united Zanu PF may command. More so Morgan Tsvangirai does not seem at all healthy enough to hold the position of president, Joyce is tainted by her former position in Zanu PF, Biti really doesn’t have enough support at all and well the others I don’t even think they are worth a mention. That is the challenge as far as opposition stands. Mugabe leaving does not change that, unless they can dream up a strategic master class that can win them the elections whenever they come.
Zimbabwe’s problem was not Mugabe said one wise man (I say wise man because I don’t want to mention my friend’s name); he says it was the corruption and impunity that his subordinates’ enjoyed all the while hoarding and accumulating wealth at our expense. The bribery on the roads, in the courts, in government offices, in schools virtually everywhere in the country. However, I’m more worried about the police; without their help none of the damage that took place while Mugabe was in office will never be fixed. Arrests need to take place, investigations need to be carried out. Corruption has to be rooted out from our country. Mugabe is gone and so should the corruption that was the mainstay to wealth accumulation of his cronies.
For a moment there I thought He would be lynched like his old friend Gaddafi. I didn’t want to see that. That would have been terrible. Nobody deserves to die in such a manner. More so I do not believe that would have set well with Zuma who would have sent in his military. Zimbabwe would be the loser in that situation. We deserve a victory, we are way past due and it had to come soon.
Besides this gloomy outlook as a result of the events that have taken place I believe much change is coming, I hope for it, I pray for it and I expect it to come. Our country should come together and work together towards a better and brighter future. The future we were promised when the country was taken away from the Smith Regime.